468 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP. In his award he distinguished between Sistan proper and outer Sistan. The former he defined as running from the nayzar, or reed beds, on the north to the main canal on the south, the district being bounded at that period by the Helmand on the east. This area, estimated at nine hundred and fifty square miles, with a population of 45,000, was awarded to Persia. Outer Sistan, or the district on the right bank of the Helmand, was awarded to Afghanistan. From the point where the main canal started, at the great dam known as the Band-i-Sistan, the frontier was declared to run in a direct line to Kuh-i-Malik-i-Sia, the spot—at that time unvisited—where both Persia and Afghanistan now touch the Indian Empire. This decision was undoubtedly favourable to Persia and granted her all she could reasonably claim. Shir Ali, on the other hand, gained no part of the most fertile tract, Afghan Sistan being relatively barren and unpopulated. But, as Rawlinson put it, " Sistan, in fact, was Persian territory, which had been irregularly attached at different periods to Herat and Kandahar." Given this fact and given the recent exertions of Persia, the award, however unpalatable to Shir Ali, was just. The Perso-Baluck Boundary Commission, 1896. — Sir Frederic Goldsmid had thus delimited first the boundary from Guattar, the port on the Arabian Sea, to Kuhak, and later that from Sistan to Kuh-i-Malik-i-Sia. Between these two points lay an area, three hundred miles in length, which was mostly desert, but contained some debatable date groves claimed both by Persia and by Kharan, a desert province of British Baluchistan. Owing mainly to the existence of these, a Boundary Commission was constituted in 1896 under Colonel (now Sir Thomas) Holdich, on which I had the honour to serve.1 Kuhak had been seized, upon the departure of General Goldsmid, by the active Ibrahim Khan, but the British Government had never recognized it as belonging to Persia. By the award of the Commission it became a Persian possession, while the southern Mashkel date groves, including 1 Ten Thousand Miles, etc., chap. xix.